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Winter Invitational

Koch Gallery’s Winter Invitational features Pam Ingalls, Kristen Reitz-Green, Elena Korakianitou, Shawn Nordfors and Jane Spakowsky. The first show of the new year has inspired new work for many of these accomplished local artists working in oil, porcelain, jewelry, wood, acrylic and mixed media.

Pam Ingalls has traveled to many countries in the pursuit of her artistic subjects. She is highly regarded as an oil painter and teacher, well known for her simple and powerfully poetic portraits, still life and interior scenes. So isn’t it ironic that for this show she found a new challenge – something she has never painted before right in her backyard – a sunrise. “I have lived on the east side of Vashon for years, and I’ve never painted sunrises,” Ingalls said. Her new painting, “Sky Fire,” is the biggest one she has ever done—72 x 28 inches. “It is challenging and inspiring to paint something that is so stunning in life,” described Ingalls.

Before passionately taking up oil painting about eight years ago, Kristen Reitz-Green worked as a Juilliard-trained French horn performer. In the past decade, she has created many bodies of work that include realistic renderings of simple loves like shoes, food and candy. Now she has turned to her “mind’s eye,” exploring abstractions of nature. This new work is inspired by her love of trees, adding, “Nothing is in front of me. I’m interested now in painting things that bring me peace.”

Elena Korakianitou’s installation of rocks made out of clay flows along the wall in “Song of the Sea.” Born and raised in Greece, she always collected rocks, and now on Vashon she continues to gather them. To Korakianitou, the rocks have their own life. “They are born by the earth and the sea just like us. In this installation the rocks have their own story to tell, and each of us can interpret it the way it touches their imagination,” she said.

Sculptor Shawn Nordfors is known for his wood-carved portraits, or what he calls “heads,” ranging in size from six feet to life-size. He uses salvaged lumber or fallen trees for his sculptures, which emerge from pieces of memory, imagination and sketches. Recognized for his talents at a young age, Nordfors attended Cornish on a full scholarship. His love of travel has taken him around the world, including Ghana, West Africa, on a Fulbright Research Grant for sculpture. His home is Vashon, where he will show his work for the first time.

Jane Spakowsky, who grew up on Vashon, offers new mixed-media paintings on wood of women who are sirens of sorts, she said. Painting is a way she processes her thoughts and emotions, much like in a diary. “In my paintings, wings are a symbol of strength, protection and mobility. I tend to focus on the depth of a woman’s feeling, as well as her power. That is the theme of this body of work. That is where I am at in life,” said Spakowsky.